The £16 million redevelopment of Rochdale’s grade I listed town hall has taken a major step forward, with the appointment of an award-winning architecture firm to take forward its restoration.
Donald Insall Associates, whose team have worked on prestigious projects across the country, including the Houses of Parliament, Manchester’s John Rylands Library and the Women’s Suffrage Memorial in Parliament Square, beat off stiff competition to lead the restoration of the treasured building, which is one of the best examples of gothic architecture in the country.
The project, due for completion in 2023, will restore the famous landmark’s many historic features, including the magna carta mural and ceiling panels in the great hall and its extensive stained glass windows.
The gothic masterpiece, which was once at the heart of civic life in the borough but is now used mainly for functions, will also be brought back into use for the public, with interpretation set to tell the fascinating story of Rochdale and its people.
The old library on the first floor, which was more recently used as office space, will also be restored and re-opened for community use as the new Bright Hall, in honour of prominent industrialists and radical politicians, the Bright family.
The restoration of Rochdale Town Hall is part of the wider £400 million regeneration of Rochdale town centre, which has included the award winning river re-opening scheme, the new transport interchange and town centre Metrolink stop and the Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development, which will open in 2020.
A series of access improvements, including the installation of new lifts and toilets, will open up the spectacular space and make it more accessible to the public than ever before.
Councillor John Blundell, our cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The town hall is a place of majesty and beauty, which is renowned across the country. For that reason, we set the bar extremely high when selecting specialists to lead its restoration. A building so special needs the absolute best and we’re confident we’ve got the calibre here to make this critical project a huge success.”
Tony Barton, Chairman of Donald Insall Associates, said: “Rochdale Town Hall is one of our great, internationally important civic buildings which has served the people of the borough for 150 years. Our team is proud to have been selected to help deliver this important project to provide a world class focus for residents and visitors as part of the council’s on going transformation of the area.”